CM Biren seeks support of judiciary to nail drug dealers

Observing that tackling the menace of drug smuggling merits synergy amongst the legislature, judiciary and executive, chief minister N Biren Singh has announced that a Fast Track Court (FTC) to deal specifically with drug related cases will be set up in the state within March this year.

Attending as chief guest of the opening ceremony of a Legal Services Camp organised by Manipur State Legal Services Authority (MASLSA) in collaboration with the Government of Manipur at Manipur Trade and Expo Centre, Lamboi Khongnangkhong in Imphal West district on Wednesday, N Biren said that setting up of the FTC will help expedite legal process to give befitting punishment to the drug peddlers.

Expressing grave concern that in-spite of constant vigil maintained by the law enforcement agencies and seizure of huge quantities of narcotic items and psychotropic drugs, the problem of substance abuse continues to pose threat to the younger generation, he sought assistance of legal experts in addressing the issue.

As setting up of the FTC to tackle cases relating to crime against women and children has been successful in punishing those guilty of committing gender crimes, the government is eager to fast track cases of drug cases and as such the FTC has been envisioned, the CM explained.

He also observed that trials conducted under the FTC will facilitate initiation of penalty within 3-6 months.

Further stating that the menace of drug abuse and trafficking has emerged as a great threat to the state, Biren informed that he had discussed the matter of establishing an FTC with different legal luminaries including Law and Legislative Affairs Minister, Chief Justice of High Court of Manipur and Advocate General of Manipur to tackle the problem.

The chief minister urged all the three pillars of the Government - Judiciary, Executive and Legislature – to work in coordination and jointly tackle any problem. He also said that any misunderstanding among these three vital pillars of democracy can be resolved through proper communication.

He said that more than 50 per cent of the masses still have no knowledge about various government-sponsored welfare schemes.

The CM said that it is appreciable to take the responsibility of sensitising people in this regard by Judicial bodies under the supervision of those who are at the top rung of judiciary.
While conceding that many economically underprivileged families could not avail benefits of different welfare schemes launched by the government due to lapses during preparation of details of the beneficiaries as well as lack of awareness among the public on such programmes, Biren maintained that such procedural and administrative flaws could be rectified with the cooperation and support of institutions concerned.

Poor families excluded from the list of PDS and housing schemes and construction of sanitary latrines indicate that either the executing agencies are not sincere or the common people are naïve about such programmes, he said.

Assuring that full co-operation would be given by the Government to the initiative of the judiciary, the Chief Minister said that lack of awareness among the masses is one of the most important factors for leaving a room for undeserving people to claim the benefits of different government schemes.

The Chief Minister also stressed the need for organising such camps in the interior parts and hill districts of the state.

In his address, law and legislative affairs minister L Jayantakumar Singh stated that the need for conducting awareness camps on welfare schemes and projects cannot be overlooked as there are many who are either naïve about such programmes or could not gain access.

He also called upon all concerned to organise similar awareness camps in all different part of the state.

Jayantakumar further said that every citizen should understand the law of the land and their entitlements and rights. As such, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) conceived the idea of organising such legal camps across the country in order to sensitise the masses.

High Court of Manipur’s Acting Chief Justice of N Kotiswar Singh and Judge Kh Nobin Singh were also present at the function.

In addition to 18 stalls of different government departments, HIV and Hepatitis testing counters were also opened at the camp for the convenience of the people.

Among the government departments/institutions, Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS); Directorate of Health Services; Chief Minister-gi Hakshel-gi Tengbang (CMHT); IT Department; Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (CAF & PD); Education-S (Right to Education); Transport Department; Traffic Control Wing; ChildLine, Imphal; Labour Department; Manipur Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board; Fire and Emergency Services opened their stalls at the camp.

One media and four MASLSA stalls were also opened at the venue.

The objective of the camp organised under the guidelines of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is to impart awareness about the legal needs of the people and address their legal problems and spread awareness about welfare legislations and schemes.

Meanwhile, MASLSA has decided to extend the legal service camp till February 1.

According to MASLSA member secretary RK Memcha Devi, extension of the camp is aimed at facilitating those who missed the first day’s event to enrol their names for different government schemes and also to enable the public submit requisite forms to the different departmental stalls.

According to a MASLSA statement, about 5000 people/beneficiaries from across the state took part in the camp and availed service provided by different departments/institutions.

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